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Dignity in the Egyptian Revolution
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Book description

Dignity, or karama in Arabic, is a nebulous concept that challenges us to reflect on issues such as identity, human rights, and faith. During the Arab uprisings of 2010 and 2011, Egyptians that participated in these uprisings frequently used the concept of dignity as a way to underscore their opposition to the Mubarak regime. Protesting against the indignity of the poverty, lack of freedom and social justice, the idea of karama gained salience in Egyptian cinema, popular literature, street art, music, social media and protest banners, slogans and literature. Based on interviews with participants in the 2011 protests and analysis of the art forms that emerged during protests, Zaynab El Bernoussi explores understandings of the concept of dignity, showing how protestors conceived of this concept in their organisation of protest and uprising, and their memories of karama in the aftermath of the protests, revisiting these claims in the years subsequent to the uprising.


‘Zaynab El Bernoussi adopts an innovative approach to an in-depth examination of the North African Uprisings in this book. Focusing on the term, dignity, she takes us through five fascinating chapters where we see manifestations of dignity as faith, dignity as identity, dignity as human right, and dignity as materialism. This is a pioneering approach to understanding the demands of activists of the Arab Spring.’

Adams Bodomo - University of Vienna

‘In a strikingly original exploration of dignity or karama in Egypt’s 2011 Arab Spring, El Bernoussi makes a claim for its wide-ranging manifestation and significance. Writing with clarity and great conviction, she reveals the concept’s multiple valences and subtly varied meanings, derived from an array of lived experiences.’

Andrew Flibbert - Trinity College, Hartford Connecticut

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